The Business Development Leaders Network (BDLN.com) was founded
in 2014 by John Maffioli and Charlotte Quince. It is an online
magazine and network for the professional services sector that is
trying to drive real change across the industry.
Clarity and focus
BDLN Chief Innovation Officer and co-founder John Maffioli
joined an IconicShift mentoring programme in 2013. He was an
entrepreneur with lots of energy, lots of ideas and an existing
"I went on IconicShift to really work out what our proposition
and strategy was going to be - the business was growing so we
wanted to seize the opportunity in order to accelerate further
growth. We then took investment into the business at the wrong time
from the wrong people - and it was absolutely disastrous. It took
all the fun out of it and in the end we gave the money back and
went back to the drawing board.
"Working with Mike I got a real understanding that you have to
stand out in a crowded world, you have to stand for something and
be clear on what you are trying to achieve. Every single second
that people don't understand who you are, what you are doing and
why - is wasted."
Changing an industry
BDLN has a mission to change the UK's conservative and
traditional professional services industry into a forward-thinking,
entrepreneurial and dynamic powerhouse.
"BDLN was a real risk. After the disastrous investment our
revenues had fallen off a cliff, but instead of chasing revenue, we
created the BDLN. We used the IconicShift principles to spend six
months building client content not revenue. And having that ability
to talk to Mike and say 'this is what I'm trying to get done, does
this make sense?' was invaluable.
"We became obsessed with client delivery. Most companies are
reactive, no matter what they say. But, if you want to transform a
market you have to be proactive and stay one step ahead."
A turning point
"In 2016 it all came together. All of the sudden we got the
opportunity to talk at big conferences. We are now working with big
clients, organising big events and creating big marketing
"Being an entrepreneur is brutal and lonely. At times you are
you own best friend and your own worst enemy. This is why I have
been very fortunate to work with Mike - it's fantastic to have
someone to speak to who's been through it all before."